Massachusetts has strict DUI laws. Even if the offense is your first run-in with the law, the state statutes set out a clear path of how the court will deal with it.
You may not believe a one-time decision may impact so many other areas of your life, but it is possible. Discover more about how the state handles DUI charges and what a conviction may mean for your life moving forward.
Permanence of a first offense
Some states report a first-time DUI to employers, schools and insurance companies for about 10 years. This may mean you do not get the scholarship you hoped for or your dream job for a decade. A DUI in Massachusetts results in a lifetime blot on your driving record. A DUI conviction will also give you a criminal history for life unless you successfully petition to have it removed.
Chances of a conviction
A DUI charge may put you on a path to a court date, and a trial may result in a conviction. The conviction attaches to your driving and criminal records. A first-time offense may not end in a conviction, but this hinges on many factors. The details of the stop may influence a judge’s decision. If you became belligerent or refused to comply, your chances of a conviction may increase. If the amount of alcohol in your system was extremely high, the charge may become a felony netting harsher consequences.
A continuance without a finding
Instead of a conviction, you may wind up with a continuance without a finding or CWOF. It is more favorable than a guilty conviction because your background check may come up clear. With a CWOF you acknowledge that the court has the evidence it needs to reach a guilty verdict, but the court does not proceed with the case. If you complete the probation period, you do not receive a conviction. However, if law enforcement arrests you again for a DUI, this new case will proceed as a second offense.